Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Mini Bus

Mini Buses are a Godsend. They go everywhere you need to go, but faster and cheaper. It took me awhile to get used to them, mostly because I had no idea where they went, but little by little, as I got used to the routes, I don't like to take anything but.

There are two types: The ones with the green color roof have fixed routes and stops. You can use an octopus card, but they don't give change if you pay by cash. The ones with the red don't have any fixed stops. You can pay by cash and get change, but you can't use your octopus card. My only beef is that seating is usually limited to 16, but the number of buses that pass by usually make this a non-issue.

History in a nutshell, courtesy of Wikipedia: During the '67 HK riots, public transportation workers went on strike and all bus and tram services were suspended. From the woodworks came regular money-minded citizens who decided to take out their mini-vans and provided rides to the people for a small fee. Thus, the mini-bus was born. They were even awarded public transportation status and licensing as thanks from the gov't. I'm guessing that a lot of mass transit officials are kicking themselves over this one.

To get an idea of what a mini bus is like, take Disneyland and strip it of all safety measures and equipment. Replace any costly materials with shoddy ones and have it built by a blind man using nothing but masking tape and nails. Yet somehow, these buses go FAST and traffic lights and signs become mere suggestions. With all the bobbing and weaving in traffic, the mini bus is the Ali of public transportation.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow.....I've never let my frds come from other countries to travel by mini bus....as I worry they don't know when & how to ask for drop them off......& for the mini buses run at night...in cantonese we call them 亡命小巴...

Man of the Awa said...

You should definitely let your friends take the mini bus. It is part of the Hong Kong experience. Besides, if they do take the night bus, I guarantee you that they will love being able to say that they survived a 亡命小巴.

YY said...

I took your advice, let my korean friend took a 亡命小巴 from Sham Shui Po to Hung Hom at night alone....She then told me that she doesn't want to take it anymore....She said it's not comfortable & have to pay attention to when should ask for get off......

Man of the Awa said...

hahaha. i didn't mean you should send her alone. even i wanted to learn the streets better before i took the mini buses so i could have a general idea of where i was going. oh well, even still, i guarantee she won't ever forget that trip. a hell of a lot more exciting than the avenue of the stars.

YY said...

She has been in HK for 3 months & familiar enough of Hung Hom...
The only problem is that the mini bus was runnning too fast & she cannot stick to the chair during the trip. She felt like on a roller coaster....